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This article was published on August 6, 2015

Facebook killed a guy’s account by mistake and it took a story by The Next Web to bring it back

Facebook killed a guy’s account by mistake and it took a story by The Next Web to bring it back

Rejoice, Al Overdrive is back on Facebook. A small victory against the casual use of unreliable algorithms has been achieved, but this case is still a salutary warning to anyone who gets a lot business from being on the social network.

Yesterday, I wrote about how Al’s account had been shut down for a second time because Facebook’s real name policy judged his monicker ‘Al Overdrive’ to be false. In reality, that’s his given name, as shown on the identity documents he had to send to Facebook on two occasions. On the second, it didn’t accept them.

It wasn’t until I published my post yesterday highlighting the issue and contacted Facebook for comment, that it was resolved. At the time of writing, Al has yet to directly receive an explanation for what happened from Facebook.

He was left without access to his account for days, which left him uncontactable on the social network where he has many business contacts and is a member and moderator of lots of photography groups. For anyone who uses Facebook regularly for work interactions, that’s a frightening prospect.

I have one but I must attribute it to not to a human being but to the amorphous mass known as ‘Facebook.’ So let’s all indulge in a collective hallucination here and pretend that someone didn’t email the following points to me, which I have rewritten as the original formulation of words was “not for attribution”:

  • Facebook made a mistake and incorrectly identified Al Overdrive’s account as fake.
  • The account was reactivated after it received his documentation – and, I suspect, when an international tech site posted about the issue
  • Facebook told me it is apologetic. It hasn’t told Al… yet.

More broadly Facebook explains its ‘real name policy’, which it calls its “authentic name requirement” (so human, so warm, so friendly), as something that has been part of the service since it’s early days.

The company says it’s committed to keeping it up as it believes it stops people hiding behind fake names to bully, harass and taunt others.

Let me know, do you think it’s working?

Read the original story: My friend is called Al Overdrive but Facebook won’t believe him… again!